Do you have an aging loved one that can’t live on their own anymore? Have you decided to become the family caregiver for them, visiting their home every day to take care of them, or even having them come live with your family? This is a very big decision, and not one that should be taken lightly. Of course you want to do everything you can to help your aging parent or loved one, but you must also be sure that you can handle all of the responsibility that comes with it.
Here are five things to make sure that you know before you become a family caregiver, along with the reasons why.
- Medical History – First and foremost, you need to know what conditions you are doing the caregiving for. Does your loved one have diabetes? Parkinson’s? Alzheimer’s? Different conditions require different treatment, and you need to know what to do for each one that your loved one has. You should also know what illnesses or surgeries they have had in the past, because when your loved one goes to a doctor or a hospital, they will ask about this, and they will ask you, the caregiver.
- CPR – The ability to do CPR is a great skill to have even if you aren’t a caregiver for an elderly person. CPR can save a life, but remember, this is only if you can do it with the proper technique. Consider taking a CPR course at a local YMCA or other venue to help make sure that you have all the skills you may need in an emergency.
- Signs of Stroke and heart attack – You probably know that the signs of a heart attack involve pressure in the chest and pain that radiates down the left arm, but do you know the less noticeable warning signs of an impending heart attack? What about the signs that your loved one is having a stroke? These can include slurred speech, facial drooping, and tingling in the limbs on one side of the body. It is important to do some research on these things, so that you can be prepared if one of them happens on your watch.
- Diet, exercise, and hygiene – When you are the caregiver for a loved one, you are responsible for cooking, cleaning, and helping your loved one get dressed. Do you know the best diet for your loved one’s health? Do you know the best physical activity to have them to do help them stay fit? Are you prepared to help them with everything from showering and brushing their hair and teeth to helping them get dressed and use the bathroom?
- Are you prepared? – This could be the most important question you could ask yourself. Are you prepared for the responsibility that comes with caring for an aging relative or parent? You might have their best interests at heart, but are you willing to devote nearly all of your time to taking care of them? If so, that is great! But caregiving isn’t something that can be taken lightly, so be sure to give it a lot of thought before you dive in.
Being a family caregiver can be a rewarding experience, but also a difficult one that requires a lot of work. Home care providers are experienced in all aspects of caring for seniors, and can provide companionship as well as assistance with the tasks of daily living. Consider a home care provider if the role of family caregiver is not one that you are able to take on right now, or in the future.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in South Plainfield, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.
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